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Is it the case that we can link punishment culture to traditions of social hierarchy—for example, in countries like Japan, China, India, or Brazil? The arguments I have presented about continental Europe and the United States will, of course, only be fully convincing if they are examined in such other settings. CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT AND SOCIAL TRADITIONS OF VIOLENCE Traditions and rates of violence differ from society to society. This raises questions of fundamental importance for the study of comparative criminal punishment in part because the harshness of criminal punishment is clearly affected in some way by the rate of violent crime, or at least by the perceived rate of violent crime.

What explains cultural patterns of violence? We have no persuasive answers to these questions. Bodies of literature may point us in the right direction, though. ” This is a literature inspired by the sociology of Norbert 30 WHITMAN Elias. Elias, a d´evot´e both of the sociology of Max Weber and of the psychology of Sigmund Freud, argued that the decline of violence in human society could be linked to the rise of other cultural patterns of self-control. In particular, the forms of self-control inculcated through courtly forms of etiquette tended to damp violent instincts.

First is penalization: that is, the range and type of human behaviors subject to potential criminal liability in a given society. Second is doctrinal criminal law: the details of the doctrinal manipulation of questions of criminal responsibility. Third is the law of punishment: the law of the nature and severity of punishments. All three of these subject areas are of interest for comparatists. With regard to the first, we want to know what different sorts of behavior are forbidden in different societies.

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Annual Review of Law and Social Science by EDITOR AND ASSOCIATE EDITORS

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